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Real Estate Bisnow
The largest commercial real estate publication in the United States.
   
January 10, 2012 
 
 
EQR ON THE HUNT

 
Equity Residential’s Alec Brackenridge and his colleagues are scouring inside Rte 128 for multifamily investment opportunities in the area’s notoriously high barrier markets. Hear what he’s finding and what he thinks Thursday at Bisnow’s 2nd Annual Multifamily Summit, Jan. 12 at the Renaissance Boston Waterfront Hotel. Register here!
 
Equity Residential’s Alec Brackenridge
Alec says that EQR, which already owns 5,500 units in 28 properties here, likes Boston because values are high, demand strong, and supply limited. (Secretly, they also can't get enough clam chowder.) But of course, that limited supply sword cuts both ways. It keeps values up but makes it challenging to find investment and development opportunities. Also, Alec says that the preponderance of two-family and triple-decker housing adds to the difficulty of finding large project sites. Among its more ambitious developments, EQR is permitting a proposed 500-unit building at its West End Apartment complex cheek to jowl with MGH. When might construction start? “I wish I knew.”
 
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WS Building Boom
 
WS Development Construction VP Dave Saurette (right) with Dave York
Construction starts are fast approaching for three big WS Development mixed-use retail projects. Construction VP Dave Saurette (right) with Dave York looks calm, but he’s one busy guy. His splashiest project is Phase 1 of the 1.2M SF of retail that WS will build for Seaport Square at the Boston waterfront. That’s a big bite (as in 18 blocks), but WS prez Jeremy Sclar says he’s so bullish on the location that he’d consider acquiring more space. With Vertex Pharmaceuticals building a complex for 1,800 workers, water access and a wave of multifamily coming, Jeremy says it’s "where Gen Y wants to be and one of few A-plus opportunities.”
WS Development Lou Masiello, with Leasing Director Kerry Dowling and Katie Wetherbee,
Development VP Lou Masiello, with leasing director Kerry Dowling and Katie Wetherbee, knows that WS’ retail development cred can be described in two words: Legacy Place. One of few new CRE projects of any asset class to open during the dark days of ’09, the $200M Dedham open air shopping center has been a big success. The 675k SF venue designed by Cambridge-based PCA is 96% leased (was 100% leased 'til Borders closed) with three major leases signed in ‘11: J Crew, Sephora, and Carhartt (in December). The 60k SF Whole Foods, the largest in New England, has become a regional attraction.
 

WS David Fleming, Brian Sciera, and Mark Roberts have a scoop for Bisnow readers: in 30 to 60 days, the company will start construction on the redevelopment of its 300k SF Chestnut Hill Shopping Center to bring in high-end cinemas, restaurants, retailers and a health club.They're also teeing up the MarketStreet mixed-use retail project in Lynnfield that will have 395k SF of fine retail and restaurants, 80k SF of offices, 180 rental apartments, and a nine-hole golf course. (Or a nine-hole lesson in anger management depending on your skill level.) Sitting between two exits on Rte 128, the location is unusual and the product lineup will be unique for the North Shore. MarketStreet will feature another Whole Foods and a Kings Bowling and nightclub complex, which Pat Lyons first opened in the Back Bay. Bottom line: WS has never been busier.


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Boston Retail Sells
 
Bob Horvath, Marcus & Millichap director of national retail property sales
WS’ optimism about Boston metro retail is well-founded, says Bob Horvath, Marcus & Millichap director of national retail property sales. Whenever he’s selling a core Boston asset, there’s extremely strong national interest. Bob attributes this to the area’s dense population, strong jobs picture and (need we say) high barriers to entry. Add to that a lack of quality product. When these retail assets come to market, he tells us, there’s aggressive, competitive bidding among investors whether they’re private, institutional, private equity or 1031 Exchange. .

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Fashion Tips for Snow Bunnies
 
Susan's 3 year old daughter
Enjoying a New England winter requires proper attire. We all know that it’s critical to keep warm and dry. But here’s a fashion tip from your Boston reporter’s 3-year-old daughter (Gen Z?). When wearing a headband with lady bug decoration, the head band goes over the woolen hat. But the Sugar Plum Fairy tutu… that goes under the down ski parka. Got it?
 
Warm us up with your ideas for news stories. Please send them to Susan Diesenhouse, susan@bisnow.com.
 
 
 
 
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